A survivor of the Mamasapano massacre has launched an online petition for peace in Mindanao, saying the military offensives launched in the South will lead to more suffering.
In his appeal on the advocacy platform Change.org, the policeman, who hid behind the name “Jason Navarro,” said he was part of the team tasked to capture terrorists Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan and Abdul Basit Usman.
Navarro, who claimed to have been injured in the clash that killed 44 members of the Special Action Force (SAF), said he grieves to hear the clamor for war in Mindanao.
“The true face of war is not that dead soldier or rebel on the battlefield. It is a mother fleeing her home with a cartload of offsprings, amid sounds of gunfire,” Navarro, who withheld his true identity for security reasons, said.
“I am a Special Action Force [SAF] officer. I lost 44 of my comrades and was wounded in battle. I will carry physical and emotional scars for life,” he said.
“I too, am a child of Mindanao. In childhood, I watched the flight of thousands of people from nearby towns. Entire families desperately seeking safe haven, war having obliterated their communities,” Navarro said.
He called for an end to decades of conflict in Mindanao that have claimed the lives of thousands of soldiers, Muslim rebels and civilians and displaced thousands of families.
“A year after the Zamboanga City siege, thousands of war refugees continue to huddle on the grandstand. Food, water and other basic needs remain scarce. Many of their kin are dead, from the fighting or the diseases that have swept through evacuation centers,” Navarro said.
“To those who scream for war: What do you know of the lives lost? We, the people of Mindanao, are not pawns to be pushed here and there. Whether or not government wins battles, the people lose,” he added.
“I wrote this petition to give voice to the many who share my belief in peace. I write for the countless mothers who have seen offspring sacrificed to war,” Navarro said, adding that no mother would want to see her child holding a gun.
“No prize, no victory will ease their pain. War does not distinguish among faiths. War snuffs out lives – Filipino lives.”
‘I am SAF. I know war. I fear the day when my family comes face to face with it. Even as we seek justice for my fallen comrades, let us repeat again and again: War is not the solution. I hope you sign my petition. Together, let us send this message: Peace is the answer,” Navarro said.